Image Dissatisfaction and self esteem

Topics: Self-esteem, Obesity, Body shape Pages: 17 (8486 words) Published: September 29, 2014
Anjala S. Krishen, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Dominique Worthen, Washington State University

This article addresses the obesity
epidemic, arguably one of the biggest health
issues presently facing our society, by taking
a critical look at the body image
dissatisfaction and self-esteem literatures.
The authors delve into three key areas,
namely, the constructs themselves, the media
effects on these constructs, and finally the
relation of these constructs with a key
solution, exercise. To address these three
areas, three tables are presented to accompany
descriptions of each construct which provide
a vast and overarching review of the crossdisciplinary literature on the topics. The authors conclude by suggesting several
potential research ideas, including a
intervention which combines cognitive
attitude-based framing (to increase body
image satisfaction and self-esteem) with
applied behavior analysis (to increase exercise
The virtually unattainable thin body
ideal which perpetuates low self-esteem
(Martin and Gentry 1997; Grabe, Ward, and
Hyde 2008) also brings about the incidence of
body image dissatisfaction in girls as young
as 5 years old (DeLeel et al. 2009).
Magnifying the problem even further, low
self-esteem and low body image satisfaction
increase the rate of people who report eating
and other behavioral disturbances (Furnham
and Calnan 1998; Leeper Piquero et al. 2010).
Thus, body image satisfaction and self-esteem

continue to be the subject of research in
several main disciplines, such as psychology
and marketing, and ample sub-disciplines,
such as clinical psychology, consumer
behavior, women’s issues, and abnormal
behavior. Consequently, as with many topics
which are of interest to various disciplines, a
full understanding of the interactions and
relationships requires a review of the body of
research, an important pursuit.
The true importance of reviewing the
non-proprietary literature on self-esteem,
body image dissatisfaction, and exercise
stems mainly from the interdisciplinary nature
of these constructs. For example, the medical
and health implications of low body image, in
particular for adolescents, can become life
threatening and lead to dangerous disorders
such as bulimia. Hence, literature in the
health and medical journals often addresses
their correlations by collecting survey data.
Psychology research attempts to further
understand the causes of low levels of these
constructs, and identify underlying theory for
such. Marketing literature delves into the
important relationship which media and
advertising have with the development and
formation of self-image, self-esteem, and so
on. However, a broad overview of the
existing research concerning the relationship
between these three constructs and
encompassing multiple disciplines of research
does not exist. Accordingly, the authors seek
to provide a panoramic view of research
dissatisfaction, and exercise, one which can
show the gaps and avenues for a proposed
research agenda. Future research in each of
these areas will benefit from this overview

Volume 24, 2011
and the attempt to fill the research gaps.
Marketers can also benefit from the literature
review by: (1) developing a broader view of
the published research and (2) augmenting the
literature stream to include solutions-oriented
Over two-thirds of American adults
are presently considered either overweight or
obese, more than a 36% increase over the last
30 years (Martin, Veer, and Pervan 2007),
and more than half of all women are
dissatisfied with their overall body image and
weight (Grabe and Hyde 2006). Although
research shows that a large population of men
are also...

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Volume 24, 2011
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